food for thought

Partner up for success

Pinot in the City Denver, coordinated by ROOT. Photo credit: Tyra Sutak, Tyra Sutak Ink & Images.

Simple steps for strategic alliance building:

A strategic marketing partnership is a union you and another organization create to further both of your goals, and expand your reach. The development of a strategic alliance can benefit your business through brand exposure to the broader market, generating new leads, and sharing product development or event planning costs.

Some examples of strategic marketing partnerships:

  • Non Profit Partnerships: Think beyond the one-off donation. Non profit partnerships are great opportunities build relationships, and to develop memorable events that have positive impact in your community.   
  • Event Sponsorships: Cash or in-kind donations give you the opportunity to market to, and sometimes interact with, the event’s attendees.
  • Co-Branding Partnerships: Partnerships between brands that complement each other.
  • Product Placement Partnerships: Partnerships between different organizations at varying points in the value chain. One example is the West Elm and Casper collaboration.


Which Partnerships Are a Good Fit For Me?

Important things to consider before signing the dotted line:

  1. Do your potential partner’s mission and values align with your organization’s mission? Approach your partnerships with a curious eye towards the potential partner organization’s culture and purpose. You don’t have to align precisely with their stated values, but it is essential that your vision and business goals naturally coexist rather than cause friction.
  2. Do you share the same target customers and communication channels? Identify the psychographics and demographics of the organization’s current customers to make sure they are the same as your organization’s. Think through how their customers interact with their products and offerings. Are their communications channels different from your own, and can they add value to your outreach strategy?
  3. Will your partnership’s offering entice customers of both brands to seek out your organization in the future? This is where the creativity and chutzpah of your partnership come into play. Think through how your collaboration builds on each of your strengths, creating a dynamic deliverable that is memorable and compelling.   
  4. Will the partnership positively catalyze your organization’s impact and brand? When you and your partner share the same values and communicate your creative and strategic work memorably, your target customers’ loyalty flourishes – and so does your business!


Did It Work?

You can’t fix, improve or grow what you can’t measure. Think through how your chosen strategic partnership campaign fits into your long-term business goals, and which parts can be tracked and measured. Some examples include: number of attendees to the event, number of followers or engagement reached via social media, number of co-branded products sold, or number of customer inquiries.

The more elements of your strategic partnership campaign you can benchmark, the better positioned you are to make the most of your current and future partnerships. This focus on tracking results, and return on investment, will help you better screen potential partners in the future, and most importantly, support you in making a sound, data-driven decision.

Every business is unique in its strategic partnership needs, but these steps will help jumpstart any business’ strategic partnerships plan.  Whether you are seeking a non profit partner to grow your brand recognition in specific communities, or the ideal partner to help launch a new product, walking through these steps thoughtfully will set you on the path towards success. If you still have questions and/or encounter challenges, contact us to see how we can help!


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